Posts Tagged 'cultural diversity'

Greek Life at Ohio State

Labor Day weekend is usually a pretty big deal in Columbus. For some, the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer, the day to pack away those white jeans and seersucker shorts until next year. For others, the long weekend is a chance to spend extra time with family and friends, usually around the grill (if the weather cooperates). And this year, of course, Labor Day weekend also marked the return of the Ohio State Football Buckeyes, who started off the season with a 40-20 win over Buffalo. But for me, the best thing about last weekend, and every Labor Day weekend in my recent memory, was the Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the Short North.

 

Besides touring the beautiful cathedral, this four-day festival offers guests the opportunity to experience traditional Greek dancing and to hear Greek folk songs as performed by the Hellenic Singers. However, the highlight of the festival, by far, is the food. Whether you want gyros and souvlaki or homemade mousakka, you will find it at the festival- and it will be DELICIOUS! There is even an entire room dedicated to pastries.

 

This year, the Greek festival was especially memorable because I was able to enjoy it with some of my new SMF classmates, including one student who is actually from Athens and so was able to teach us all a lot about the Greek culture and language. While we were there, we even ran into two of our SMF faculty members and their families, which was great!

Of course, the Greek Festival is not the only festival we have in Columbus. In fact, from April to November, there seems to be at least one every weekend. Check out a list of all of the 2013 festivals here.

Καλή Όρεξη!

[Bon appetit!]


Interestingly Different

You must be kidding me! My brain has thought more of these words than any other word since I arrived in the United States.  Sure you would say the same by the time you read through this blog. There are some really amazing differences between the American and Ghanaian culture which I would like to share with you. Enjoy!

  Wait a minute! Is this for lunch? With the Ghanaian mentality of lunch being more of rice dishes, I had a rude awaking when I decided to go to a function where lunch was to be provided on an empty stomach.  To my utter surprise, I had a “snack” for lunch! Most Ghanaians eat pizza as a snack but never as a meal. Surprising isn’t it? This is variety # 1.

Where can i have goat meat in the US? In fact, where are all the goats? Every restaurant or food vendor in GH is sure to serve “goat meat” (as it is affectionately called in Ghana). It is a delicacy in most homes. Goats are even reared by some individuals in their homes and seen all most everywhere in the country. See how beautifully someone dressed his/her goat in the colors of the national flag! Coming over to the states, I had and still have one question: Where is the “goat meat”.

Also, I have been thinking. Do I have to pay for every single space my car occupies? I can’t remember ever paying for parking anywhere on campus or at most banks, shops and restaurants, etc. Almost all commercial establishments have free parking available for customers.  However, the sight of the parking meters and the sound of coins being dropped into them lets me know without doubt that I am in the United States.

It’s wonderful biking to class here but try riding a bicycle on a Ghanaian university campus. Every eye would stare at you as if you’ve committed the greatest crime ever. Legs are preferred to the two wheeled machine; no kidding! You have 4 options:  Walk, Run, Drive, or use the University Shuttle Service. We will end it here with difference # 4.

Now! To honor the rich diversity at Fisher, I will be glad to share a bar of premium Ghanaian Chocolate with anymore who is able to answer all the questions that follow accurately before viewing the answers. Here we go!!! (Try it under a minute)

  1. If an electric train travels from East to West, in which direction will the smoke travel?
  2. How long have you been walking under the sun?
  3. A little boy was rushed to the hospital after being involved in an accident. At the hospital, the doctor shouted; “Oh my son!” The doctor was not the father of the boy. How would you explain it?
  4. When a cock lays an egg between the US and Canada, which country will own the egg?
  5. Two fathers and two sons went out for dinner. They were served three pieces of pizza. Each had one. Explain.

We all got a lot to learn from each other as we prepare for the global world. Diversity as encouraged by the College affords us the opportunity to be present on each continent whiles in the US.  My free advice: Take very good advantage of it.

 “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” –  Malcom X

Answers

  1. Electric trains don’t produce smoke.
  2. It simply means. What’s your age?
  3. Doctor was the mother.
  4. Cocks don’t lay eggs
  5. It was a Grandfather, father and a son (grandfather is the FATHER of the father thus the father being the SON; then the last two -FATHER and the SON)


Have you hugged an international student lately?

Imagine packing up and moving to a foreign country, say China for example, and beginning a two-year full time MBA program. All your classes are in Chinese, your books are in Chinese, three out of the five team members in your group are from China, you live in an apartment in a city that you don’t know, your best friends are going to bed when you’re waking up, and your mom and dad are literally on the other side of the planet. To say you’re a little homesick is an understatement.

In class you can follow along, but struggle with complicated concepts like economics and organizational behavior, since although you can speak and understand the language, your level of vocabulary doesn’t include all the technical jargon from business, law and medicine. In meetings you sometimes feel lost and don’t understand all the idioms, slang and inside jokes from the native speakers in your group. To top it all off, you attend the career fair and find out that only six out of the fifty employers represented will even take your resume since you’re not a Chinese citizen. You wish you had time to enjoy the night life, but studying for classes takes twice as long since you have to constantly reference your English-Chinese dictionary.

As difficult as all that may sound, many of our international classmates in the MBA program are dealing with very similar challenges. Some of them have left their families, friends, and even spouses and children back home for the pursuit of a world-class business education.

Something that I am proud of is being part of an MBA program that is very close-knit, collaborative, and fun. I’ve said it a hundred times, but last year was probably the best year of my life. When we have tailgates, themed parties, and cultural events, easily half of our program shows up. But what about the other half? What about those students who don’t enjoy going out to a crowded bar or a noisy tailgate? Unfortunately, many of the students missing from these events are our international students.

I’d like to challenge everyone reading this to work on making the Fisher College a more welcoming place for our international students. Look past the cultural differences and language barriers and realize that everyone is a human equal.

To the domestic students reading this, make an honest effort to connect with the international students, especially within your groups. Create an environment where questions, opposing opinions and asking for clarification is welcomed anytime. Instead of hanging out with the same twelve people every weekend, branch out a little. I’ve learned so much about the world around us by connecting with and hearing the experiences of many of the international students in our class. I even stayed with Claus’s family for a couple days when I was in Germany this summer for my internship (Thanks again Claus!). We are so lucky to have them in our program to learn from and grow with.

And to the international students out there, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a little. Realize that getting an MBA is only partially about the education. Come out to the EOTWs and other events organized by our social committee. Don’t be afraid to speak up in your group meetings. If you don’t understand something, simply ask. We had some of the funniest conversations that drew us closer as a group from some of these questions last year. And ask us for help anytime, we’re more than willing to give it.

Unless you take a job with the World Bank or the United Nations, you’re never going to be in such a rich, diverse cultural environment. Make the most of it while you still can.

One love,

Mike ^_^

“People can only live fully by helping others to live. When you give life to friends you truly live. Cultures can only realize their further richness by honoring other traditions. And only by respecting natural life can humanity continue to exist.” - Daisaku Ikeda (Japanese peace activist and leader of Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International)



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